LEHMAN TWP. – Looking out at the cold, soggy weather that dampened the opening of the high school track and field schedule only made Jace Garnick shrug.
For her and the rest of the Black Knights, Tuesday was simply one more day Lake-Lehman spent battling the elements. And winning.
“We’ve gotten outside most days this season,” Garnick said. “We got a lot of time in outside.”
It paid off right at the start.
Jade Fry won in four events, Garnick and Natasha Mihalko were triple winners and Lake-Lehman’s girls distance runners picked right up where they left off as state medalists last year while leading the Black Knights to a 95-53 victory over Holy Redeemer on the first day of the Wyoming Valley Conference Division 2 season.
“No, I do not enjoy it,” laughed Garnick, who won the 800 run and ran on the winning 3,200 and 1,600 relay teams at Edward Edwards Stadium. “It’s cold. I think it affected everyone. It’s harder to get going.”
Yet, both Lehman teams got off to a successful start as the Black Knights boys team overcame a four-win performance by Holy Redeemer’s Lukas Volpetti to pull out a tight 73-64 win.
Casey Kaminski was a triple winner, T.J. Meehan took two throwing events and Daymond Kovaly and Matt Sczyrek were also double winners to help the Black Knights overcome temperatures in the mid-30s that featured a light but steady rain that soaked the track.
That seemed like a pleasant spring day compared to the wintry conditions the Black Knights spent the past couple weeks practicing in.
“The kids have been training in this stuff,” Lake-Lehman coach John Sobocinski said. “We’ve been running in the elements. We just kept coming out. Every day, we’d work out at 3:15 and a squall would come in.
“We just kept working through it.”
Both schools boast distance relay teams trying to work their way back to the PIAA medal stand.
The Holy Redeemer boys and Lake-Lehman girls both won the 3,200 relay event Tuesday while bringing back significant members of teams that each finished with fourth-place state medals last season.
Garnick, Fry and Olivia Vasey are back on that girls team for their senior seasons at Lehman and are joined by sophomore Abby Paczewski, who filled in on the team occasionally during the 2017 regular season. They finished in 11:20.
“It does feel good,” Garnick said. “I love the relay. We’re just a good group of girls. I just hope we get back to states and do as well as last year.”
Fry led the way, winning the 1,600 and 3,200 individual runs between helping the 3,200 and 1,600 relay teams churn out victories. Meanwhile, Mihalko won the 100 dash, the triple jump and on the 400 relay.
“These girls are really tough,” Sobocinski said. “Today is one of those days where you run to win. You’re not going to run any great times in this weather.”
The runners on Holy Redeemer’s 3,200 boys relay arrived right on time.
Volpetti joins Dominic Capaci to make up half the runners who helped the team finish fourth at states in 2017. They’re now joined by fellow junior Bryce Zapusek and senior Scott Williams on a squad that ran a 10:57 for the victory Tuesday.
“I would say you have a little more of an expectation,” Volpetti, a Dallas resident, said. “I feel it’s a good start to the season. The weather was a little bit difficult, but that’s no excuse.”
Volpetti also took victories in the 800 and 1,600 runs and as part of the 1,600 relay team. He led the Royals in a battle to the finish, but Kaminski swung the score Lehman’s way by winning the high jump after capturing the long jump and running on the winning 400 relay team.
Meehan finished first in the shot put and discus throws, while Kovaly won the 110 to lead Lehman’s hurdles sweep and also ran on the 400 relay. Sczyrek won the triple jump and was on the 400 relay.
“It was back and forth,” Sobocinski said. “Their distance runners were dominant today. But we held our own in the hurdles and jumps and did enough in sprints to get the win.”
Chris Banas, also from Dallas, added a win for the Holy Redeemer boys in the 100-meter dash and was part of the 1600 relay win.
Carly Cavanaugh from Dallas was second in the 100 for the Holy Redeemer girls.
Matt Maransky led the way Wednesday as Dallas won the WVC Division 1 opener on a tiebreaker for most events won.
Maransky won the pole vault, long jump and javelin.
Josh Wyandt won the 800- and 1600-meter runs and was part of the winning 3200 relay.
Abby Zolner swept both hurdles events and ran on the winning 1600-meter relay team when Dallas opened the WVC Division 1 season with a comfortable win Wednesday.
MMI Prep 0
Dallas improved to 2-0 without losing a set in Wednesday’s WVC home victory.
Dallas won every match in straight sets in Monday’s WVC opener.
Dominick Rizzo won, 6-0, 6-0, at first singles.
Hanover Area 2
Andrew Jubis had 39 digs Tuesday when Lake-Lehman rallied to defeat Hanover Area in a lengthy match, 22-25, 25-14, 15-25, 30-28, 15-13.
Josh Company had 22 assists to help the Black Knights to the win in their WVC opener.
Wyoming Valley West 3
Wyoming Valley West won Tuesday’s WVC opener for both teams, 25-13, 25-16, 25-17.
Logan Evanofsky had five kills for Dallas while Mike Huntington had nine digs and eight points.
Paul Biner had seven kills and four blocks Monday when Tunkhannock opened with a 25-12, 25-22, 26-24 victory over Crestwood.
Max Hardy had 20 assists.